When the school food policy stuff starts getting really heavy around here, as it certainly has this week, I sometimes like to take a head-clearing break by sharing a recipe or a fun kid/food idea with you.
A while back, I told you how my veggie-averse son (he’s getting better, really!) used to spurn what I thought was a really kid-friendly dish (sweet potatoes mashed with orange zest, butter and brown sugar), but then he surprised me by digging into some burnt (and therefore very bitter) kale chips. A reader of that post pointed out that my son might just prefer salty, bitter and sour flavors over sweet and so, armed with that advice, I’ve found that both of my kids often eat more fruit if I present it to them in savory or salty dishes.
One example is my attempt to re-create a side dish at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants, a place specifically devoted to Mexico City street food. (Yeah, when you live in Houston, the Mexican food scene is so vast it can get that segmented!) It was just a simple salad of orange slices, jicama and cucumber and sprinkled with lime juice, salt and chile powder. My kids aren’t huge cucumber fans, so I left that out and just winged it. It’s a nice change of pace from plain sliced oranges:
More recently, I served this beautiful dish at a summer dinner party. (Well, not this exact iteration — this photo is from Epicurious because my own photo somehow disappeared on my cell phone.)
It’s just cubed watermelon topped with crumbled, sharp feta and shreds of fresh basil. (Recipe here.) At the party I set aside a plate of plain sliced watermelon for kids, but my son (consistent with that TLT reader’s insight) preferred this “grown-up” version and I even wound up making another batch for him later in the week.
And another way I work fruit into savory dishes is via a recipe from the wonderful Katie Morford of Mom’s Kitchen Handbook. I adore her book, Best Lunch Box Ever, and in it she suggests packing kids a sandwich filled with Gruyere cheese and apple slices and then pressed in a waffle iron. My kids love that version, but sometimes I skip the waffle iron in favor of a traditional frying pan, and I always add some spicy arugula, which contrasts nicely with the sweetness of the apples. (I’ve also subbed out thin slices of pear for the apple.) Here’s a picture I took before the sandwich went into the pan:
I typically serve these sandwiches with homemade soup and, honestly, my kids would eat this dinner every week if they could.
So, do you ever do the savory/salty fruit thing for your kids? Share your thoughts — and recipe links! – in a comment below.
Do You Love The Lunch Tray? ♥♥♥ Then “like” The Lunch Tray! Join over 8,600 TLT fans by liking TLT’s Facebook page (and then adding it to your news feed or interest lists) to get your Lunch delivered, along with bonus commentary, interesting kid-and-food links, and stimulating discussion with other readers. You can also join almost 5,000 TLT followers on Twitter, see my virtual bulletin boards on Pinterest and find selected TLT posts on The Huffington Post. And be sure to check out my free video for kids about processed food, “Mr. Zee’s Apple Factory!”